Hearts boss Robbie Neilson defends Ange Postecoglou and Celtic

By David Walton

July 30, 2021

Hearts manager Robbie Neilson has moved to defend Ange Postecoglou and Celtic as he says you can see what the new man is trying to do.

The Hoops have come under fierce criticism for the UCL exit at the hands of Midtjylland on Wednesday night. Postecoglou has been generally omitted from critique, but Celtic’s working as a club have rightly been totally hammered.

A failure to prepare a capable squad in time for the Midtjylland clash is what the board are primarily being accused of. Major shortages in key positions have left Celtic a shadow of what they should be heading into European games.

And Neilson is the latest to defend Postecoglou as he believes you can see signs of what the new man wants his Celtic side to look like.

As quoted by the Daily Record, Neilson said: “If James Forrest had scored and Celtic had gone 2-0 up it would have been a different story. But the Danes scored 30 seconds later and it all changed.

“Obviously they’ll be disappointed with the result but Celtic still have some fantastic players. You can see what they are trying to do in terms of the style of play, you could see it with Neil Lennon’s team last year.

“But I would say at the top end of the pitch it’s much the same as they have done for the past four or five years because they still have the same personnel. It’s maybe more at the back where they’re a wee bit different.”

Hearts now a big clash for Ange Postecoglou and his Celtic team

These are classy words from Neilson. He could’ve very easily piled on and criticised Celtic for their humiliating exit on Wednesday night. Instead, he’s moved to big up the Hoops squad and put some perspective on the Midtjylland performance as a whole.

However, nothing will take away from the sheer disappointment of the night. Celtic should still have been knocking the Danes out and in convincing fashion too. Failing to do so falls on the board.

But even though Postecoglou has rightly been spared criticism, that doesn’t mean Saturday’s fixture isn’t of even greater importance. Celtic travel to Hearts on matchday one of the Premiership season looking to get off to a solid start.

Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images

What can’t be denied is that, even with shortages, we still have a squad to beat Hearts. Celtic should be strutting up at Tynecastle and winning comfortably. Granted, many fans would likely take any sort of win to get such a tricky-looking fixture out of the way.

Yet Hearts have only just come up from the Championship. Celtic should be able to dominate and create plenty of chances in Edinburgh. We have the players to do it and there must be an itch to bounce back immediately.

Failure to do so and that certainly will fall on Postecoglou. Celtic have the players to be dismantling Hearts – time for us to show it.

In other news, Hibernian hit out at “patronising” clubs for pursuit of Celtic-linked Josh Doig